(Photo courtesy Symetra)
If you’re going to the Seahawks-Cowboys game at CenturyLink Field this afternoon – listen up for your chance to applaud a local teacher. Chief Sealth International High School family/consumer sciences teacher DeAira Handugan is scheduled to be there for an on-field presentation of her “Heroes in the Classroom” award. Two former students nominated her; one is quoted as saying, “It is impossible to be in her presence and not look at her as a role model.” The award is presented by the Seahawks and Symetra, who present it to 16 teachers around the region each year; besides the recognition at today’s game, it also brings Handugan a $1,000 donation for classroom supplies.
Congratulations! ‘Diver Laura’ wins Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition photo contest and kayak trip with MacklemoreOctober 9, 2014 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments
That’s the photo that won West Seattle’s “Diver Laura” James – the “citizen scientist” and advocate whose work is often featured on WSB – a kayaking trip on the Duwamish River with music star Macklemore. The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition just announced that Laura’s photo won its “River for All” contest. Debris/trash from the river is part of the photo, and yet, she meant for it to be anything BUT a message of despair over its extreme pollution. Writing about the photo concept on her website, she explained:
Usually images of marine debris are somewhat hopeless. A mermaid caught in a fishing net, lying (presumed dead) on a sandy beach. Beaches covered in trash. Dead birds with belly full of plastic. These images, as powerful as they are, don’t always work for me. My message is one of strength and hope. Empowerment. Dream big. That was the concept behind this shot.
And yes, as a prolific producer, Laura created a behind-the-scenes video:
Here’s the DRCC announcement about the photo contest; here’s the gallery of other entries; and here’s why Macklemore is involved – his own essay about the river that forms much of West Seattle’s eastern border, declared by its admirers and protectors to be “a river for all.”
P.S. And as noted here on Wednesday, you too can be a Duwamish River ally and protector – just sign up to commit four hours during Duwamish Alive! one week from Saturday.
P.P.S. If you haven’t read Laura’s post yet – note that, beyond the contest, she writes about looking for collaborators for other visual projects to tell the river’s story.
A Celebration of Life is planned this Saturday for Kristine Lenning, who died last week at 62. Here’s the remembrance we were asked to share:
Kristine M. Lenning
July 13, 1952 – September 26, 2014
Kris passed away at her home in West Seattle, surrounded by friends and family. Kris was preceded in death by her husband Donald G. Lenning and is survived by her daughter Alexa Victoria Lenning, brothers Bernard, Kenneth, and Steven Larson, and sister Kathy Hodges.
Kris recently retired from Century Link after 44 years of service. She fought a long and courageous battle against cancer, never losing her zest for life, her sense of humor, and loving concern for others. Kris was a gifted artist who loved sharing her talents with friends, and especially children. The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to Hospice and her family of co-workers that helped care for her. There will be a Celebration of Life for Kris on Saturday, October 4th, 2014, at West Seattle Golf Course from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Remembrances to the Cancer Society in lieu of flowers, please.
(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
Southwest Youth and Family Services: Spotlight Gala tonight, neighborhood Open House coming up October 9thSeptember 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off
Biggest party in West Seattle tonight: The Spotlight Gala at The Hall at Fauntleroy raising money for Southwest Youth and Family Services, the North Delridge-based nonprofit with more going on inside its nondescript headquarters than you’d guess just from passing by. Emcee for the night, former Mayor (and major soccer fan) Greg Nickels, there with wife Sharon Nickels:
Two of our area’s state legislators were there to support SWYFS – State Senate Democratic leader Sen. Sharon Nelson of Maury Island:
And longtime State House Rep. Eileen Cody of West Seattle:
SWYFS executive director Steve Daschle was all smiles:
His agency is focused on education, counseling, and support services, and has expanded its reach in the past year-plus, stretching further into South King County by merging with New Futures. It’s also reaching out to invite West Seattleites to find out more about what it does and how to help and/or get help; toward that goal, you’re invited to an open house 2-6 pm Thursday, October 9th, with a hot-dog barbecue and prize raffles as well as entertainment. SWYFS is at 4555 Delridge Way SW, just south of Delridge Community Center and east of Delridge Playfield.
FIRST REPORT, 3:55 PM: For a short time about half an hour ago, the west end of the eastbound West Seattle Bridge was backed up to Fauntleroy. Anne Higuera from Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) sent the photo and explains why:
Just watched as hundreds of people stopped their cars on the West Seattle Bridge to wait while a couple of valiant dog catchers blocked traffic and captured a little dog that refused to stop and was running all the way down Fauntleroy and onto the bridge. They finally wrapped him up in a jacket and put him in a box and I’m going to assume that they’re going to then try to locate the owners of the dog. Everyone was so well mannered. Not a single horn blown and everyone waited patiently until the little dog was captured. It was really sweet.
We heard a bit about this on the scanner but had no idea how it turned out until Anne’s note. The dog might be hurt, according to a tweet from Dan. (If whomever now has the dog sees this, we can of course put a note on the WSB Lost/Found Pets page, where we’ve had multiple “found dog” reports today but no “lost” reports yet.)
4:45 PM UPDATE: We have heard now from both the dog’s owner and the finder – the latter, via comments, saying it’s been taken to Seattle Animal Shelter; the former, via e-mail, explaining the dog, a Jack Russell Terrier mix named Woody, bolted from Petco in The Junction “just fitted … for a new harness & lead and obviously it didn’t fit! He backed out of it and ran for it.”
We’re hoping they all connect quickly!
That photo is from the volunteers comprising the Walking on Logs Landscape Restoration Group, some of your West Seattle neighbors (backstory here) who have been doing what they can to honor the longstanding mandate for community upkeep of the area. This is their last cleanup session of the year; the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce is looking at organizing one at the start of November. (The Chamber keeps the sign-up sheet for nonprofit promotional use of the site – what’s up right now replaced the guerrilla messaging spotted earlier in the week).
P.S. You might not notice unless you’re passing by as a passenger, but we’re told the aspens are in fine form and the snowberries are blooming!
One of West Seattle’s most historic porches was the scene of a party earlier tonight, as the the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly After Hours gathering came to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum. SWSHS executive director Clay Eals recounted some of the organization’s big events, including one that dwarfed tonight’s gathering:
The photo he’s holding is from the June 6th dedication of the renovated totem pole that stood at the Admiral Way Viewpoint for years. SWSHS’s next big event is the Champagne Gala Brunch in November (with sponsors inclding WSB); you can reserve your ticket(s) now. As for the Chamber, its next lunch meeting, October 9th, features Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. It’ll be an outdoor event in the Port-owned Jack Block Park (rain or shine!).
(Photo courtesy The Kenney)
Among the hundreds of people who joined in the Pacific Northwest Walk to End Alzheimer’s today were four residents of The Kenney (WSB sponsor), along with staffers and family members. They raised $1,600 and walked the full two-mile route along Lake Union. Proceeds from the walk – more than $270,000, in early estimates – go toward “the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association,” according to the event website. The rise in cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia has led some retirement centers to make big changes; The Kenney added its Memory Care Community in 2012.
Happening now: United Way of King County’s ‘Day of Caring’ brings volunteers to West Seattle and White CenterSeptember 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, White Center | 1 Comment
The historic, now-community-owned Fauntleroy Schoolhouse is one of more than 500 sites around King County getting free TLC today during the United Way of King County “Day of Caring” event. Companies from around the region have sent more than 11,000 workers to volunteer – like the people from Car Toys who were busy around the schoolhouse’s grounds, including Fauntleroy Children’s Center.
We got there just in time to say hi to UWKC’s CEO Jon Fine, who chose it as his first stop on a tour of several volunteer projects.
Another local site getting Day of Caring help, the White Center Food Bank:
“Day of Caring” volunteers there (including Sally and Lynda in our photo) are from Bentall Kennedy. WCFB is just four weeks away from its big annual fundraising Harvest Dinner/Auction, by the way (October 18th at SSC’s Brockey Center), and you can still get tickets by going here.
40 Microsoft employees in all worked on landscaping around The Kenney’s campus, donating more than 175 hours of work in all.
Congratulations to Dorothy and Everett Wright of West Seattle, who just celebrated a big anniversary. From their daughter Wendy Hobson:
Everett and Dorothy Wright celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary (August 19, 2014) with a party a few days later at their daughter’s home with family and friends.
They got married on their fourth “date,” after meeting in Chicago at Christmastime in 1943 when Dorothy went to stay with her sister. Dorothy’s oldest sister was married to Everett’s older brother. They went out to dinner – then Everett (who was in the Air Force in 1944) went back to Louisiana. They wrote to each other for 8 months. He came back to Chicago on leave, proposed, and they got married a few days later. They took the train to North Dakota and spent their honeymoon with her parents on the farm.
In 1956, they moved from Chicago to Seattle, following Dorothy’s sisters and their families. They had a 2.5 year old daughter and a 3-month-old son, no job, no house. Everett went out to look for a job and at his first stop, called Dorothy to say he was hired and that he was starting that day! A few weeks later, they purchased the home on Genesee Hill where they still live.
Everett retired from Sundstrand Corp in Redmond in 1983 and Dorothy retired from Sears in SODO in 1986.
Everett bought his first computer when he was 80, learning to surf the internet. At 85, he decided to learn to play the bass guitar (figuring that because it only had 4 strings, it would be easier) to keep his mind sharp. At almost 96, he is still curious about everything.
Dorothy joined the Y after she retired and has enjoyed 30+ years of water aerobics. She is a big Mariners fan.
They both enjoy going on the senior bus to the Tulalip and Muckelshoot Casinos monthly. They are the parents of Wendy (Michael) Hobson and Brad (Colette) Wright, and grandparents of Aaron & Shawn Hobson and Carson Wright.
Milestone anniversary in YOUR family? Let us know!
Family and friends will gather this Saturday to celebrate the life of Henry “Hank” Matthew Ercolini, born October 8, 1923 in Seattle, died August 28, 2014 in Salem, Oregon, with many years in West Seattle along the way. Here’s the remembrance we were asked to share:
Hank was the oldest of the 3 boys of Joe and Julia Ercolini, a husband to Gertrude “Gertie” Ercolini for 65 years, a father of 4, father-in-law, devoted grandfather (Pop) and great-grandfather, an uncle, cousin, a devoted friend, a 1941 West Seattle High School graduate, a WWII Marine veteran, a 1948 Willamette University graduate, a math & history teacher, coach, junior high principal, referee, a world traveler, a long-time member of Queen of Peace church, a Beaver and Bearcat fan, a cribbage teacher, a landscaper by hobby, an avid golfer, a Meals on Wheels delivery boy, a favorite neighbor, a Susan G. Komen supporter, and a great friend to many.
He will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, and the joy he shared with everyone who knew him. He will be dearly missed. He is survived by three of his children and their spouses: Joan Ercolini (Bend, OR), Lisa & Rod Noteboom (Moses Lake, WA), Steve & Betsy Ercolini (Seattle); his four grandchildren: Tom Watson and wife Jodie, Anne Watson, Angela Fernandez and husband Paul, and Daniel Noteboom; his great grandsons Eamon Watson and Eli Fernandez; and Tom and Anne’s father Steve Watson. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Joe and Julia Ercolini, his brothers Edward and James Ercolini, his first daughter Julie Watson, and his wife Gertie.
A celebration of Hank’s life will be held at Capital Manor (in Salem, OR), Saturday, September 20th, at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, or the charity of your choice. Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
A gathering is planned at a Gatewood home tomorrow to celebrate the life of James M. Novello. His family shares this remembrance:
James Michael Novello, born to James and Alvera Novello on June 19th, 1945, passed at his home on September 6th, 2014 – beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, son, brother, and uncle.
James was born in Whitestone, New York, where he graduated from Holy Cross High School. He served as a Chaplain Assistant in Hanau, Germany, while in the United States Army.
James made a home for him and his family in Washington State, where he served with the Anacortes Police Department. He would later work for Fritz Trucking Company in Auburn, where he worked until he retired.
James loved his family, friends, and neighbors, but home is where the heart is, he loved spending time with his 4-legged friends. Other memorable times would be his yearly trips to the Washington coast or game night with family, friends, and neighbors. He loved his Seattle sports teams and Neil Diamond.
James is survived by his wife Debby Novello; dad James Novello, New York; sister Linda (Ray) Riso, New York; children: Richard (Heidi) Novello, James (Monica) Novello, Kimberly (Paul) Bahnmiller, Michael (Terri) Novello; grandchildren: Shawna Murray, Nickolaus (Erin) Novello, Zackary Novello, Carson Novello, Brittany Novello, Vinny Novello, Gabrielle Novello, Cecelia Novello, Giovanni Novello, Zachary Myers, Jacob Myers, Alexis Novello, and Anthony Novello; great-grandchild Aiden Plumley.
Celebration of life will be held at the home of James and Deborah Novello on September 11th, 2014, at 2 pm at 3926 SW Ida Street, West Seattle.
His humor and laughter will be missed.
(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
Notice the difference? Friends of Morgan Junction Parks, Peace Lutheran volunteers team up for more cleanup, restorationSeptember 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle people | 4 Comments
Another Morgan Junction-area public space is in better shape tonight because of hard work by community volunteers. Thanks to Barry for the photos and report:
A delegation from Peace Lutheran Church again joined Friends of Morgan Junction Parks on a neighborhood cleanup effort. The two groups put in a solid shift on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the SDOT property on the corner of Fauntleroy and Juneau, where restoration work was begun last fall. The two groups have also been restoring the triangle property next to the Thriftway in Morgan Junction.
Tall, thick weeds had taken over the parking strip at the Juneau site. These were removed, in addition to a lot of dead wood on trees and plants in the interior. We’ll return later in the fall to add some new plants to the parking strip area.
You can connect with Friends of Morgan Junction Parks via its Facebook page.
(Photo courtesy Free2Luv)
With both the Seahawks‘ season and the school year starting, an anti-bullying campaign is launching with a West Seattle-based nonprofit at the heart of it. On the lower right of the billboard in the photo, you’ll see FREE2LUV.ORG – the online home of Free2Luv, which is leading the “Friends Don’t Let Friends Bully” campaign. The photo and announcement (read the full version here) were shared by Free2Luv president/co-founder Tonya Sandis of Alki. Donated billboard space is part of it; the first one, Tonya says, is at 4th Avenue South and South Industrial Way, just a few blocks south of the West Seattle Bridge (map): “With the rise in teen suicides and one out of every three children experiencing some form of bullying, it is Free2Luv’s mission to reach as many communities and children as possible to spread the word Friends Don’t Let Friends Bully. … We are passionate about creating a safer and kinder place for our youth, raising self-esteem and re-instilling hope.” Free2Luv says more than 19,000 people have taken their anti-bullying pledge; you can join them here.
By Kezia Willingham
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
As the sold-out PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) gaming convention starts today downtown, West Seattleite Bijhan Valibeigi will be there, launching a new product in her multimedia “Time Wars” franchise: A strategy card game.
She e-mailed WSB about the launch, explaining that “Time Wars: Supreme Command” is “the world’s first deck-stacking game, where you actively try to stack your own deck in your favor, while also trying to control the flow of your opponent’s deck.”
The format isn’t all that’s groundbreaking about “Time Wars: Supreme Command.”
Bijhan and I met at Meeples Games, the new business at California/Charlestown that not only sells games, but is also a place where you can sit down and play them in a relaxed atmosphere, with a café and a library where you can try out games before purchasing them.
Bijhan created “Time Wars” based on her experience as a game lover who missed seeing accurate representations of both her ethnicity and gender orientation – she describes herself as a “queer genderless Persian-American nerd” – in the games she loved. She wanted to see more diversity in the characters and their experiences.
Congratulations to another West Seattleite for an amazing accomplishment – a high-elevation challenge completed by Martin de Vrieze recently in Colorado. Francine Stroud shares the story and photo:
Martin de Vrieze, a 20-year West Seattle resident, recently ran the Leadville 100 “Race Across the Sky.” This race is 100 miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain. The race spans elevations between 9200 feet up to 12,600 feet, and has a total elevation gain of 18,168 feet. The race must be completed in 30 hours or less. Generally, only one half of the runners that start are able to finish the race. This year there were 612 starters and only 351 finishers. The race begins at 4:00 AM in the dark and for Martin ended at dawn the following morning. Martin finished in 25 hrs. 43 mins. 48 secs. He came in 25th in his age group and 93rd overall. We are very proud of him.
Followup: West Seattle Senior Center hires ousted director as consultant, ‘evaluates relationship’ with Senior ServicesAugust 25, 2014 at 11:15 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments
Karen Sisson is back at the Senior Center of West Seattle – as a consultant.
As first reported here July 14, after 25 years as center director, Sisson was fired by Senior Services, the citywide nonprofit that provides staffing to centers including West Seattle, after sending an e-mail that expressed concern over possible operational changes SS was reported to be considering. SS would not comment on the reason for Sisson’s ouster, but multiple sources attributed it to the e-mail.
Now, the Senior Center’s board – which operates independently of Senior Services and its board – has hired Sisson as a consultant, and is demanding that SS reinstate her as center director. From board president David Robertson:
The Senior Center of West Seattle unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing Karen Sisson as Center Director and expressing its lack of confidence in Paula Houston, the Agency Director of Senior Services. A copy of the resolution is attached:
The Senior Center of West Seattle has hired Karen Sisson as a consultant to assist the Board in dealing with financial matters of the Senior Center of West Seattle as the Senior Center evaluates its relationship with Senior Services.
Unlike most of the Seattle senior centers that are staffed through Senior Services, the West Seattle center owns its own building. In addition to the board resolution, Sisson’s firing also has sparked a community outcry, including a petition drive, and an earlier board “vote of confidence” in her work. Sisson herself hasn’t commented directly on her firing but told WSB she appreciates the messages of support.
(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
The “soapbox race” downtown wasn’t the only one in Seattle today – Beverly invited us to check out the one that happened in her North Admiral neighborhood this afternoon/evening as part of its annual block party.
She explained in the invitation, “We neighbors around College between Walnut and 41st Ave. SW have an annual block party the second to last weekend in August each year” – and much of it is headquartered in her home’s front yard. “There are a lot of kids in the neighborhood, so this year we decided to have a soapbox derby!” In the photo below, that’s Beverly’s son Asa in the striped shirt on the right; he designed the cart with Tinkercad.
The derby featured kids of all ages – here’s 3-year-old Reider and 1-year-old brother Hudson:
Whatever the cart design – the neighborhood derby featured human-powered transportation at its finest! Some of it, animal-inspired:
Thanks to Beverly for letting us know about the derby so we could stop by. Something cool happening in YOUR neighborhood? Here’s how to reach us.
Congratulations to West Seattle athlete Tom Donohue for his victories at the USA Cycling National Track Championships, which continue through tomorrow on the Eastside. The report and photos are by proud wife Lisa Donohue:
Fauntleroy resident Tom Donohue earned his 2nd Gold medal Saturday at the USA Cycling National Track Championships at Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond. Tom slayed the competition in both the Match Sprint and 500m Time Trial 50-54 year-old category. In addition, he also set a new track record in the 500m.
Tom is a member of the Cucina Fresca cycling team. You might spot him sprinting along the streets of West Seattle in his red and black jersey.
Tom will be traveling to the Manchester England for the World Championships this October. Last year he ranked top 10 in World, and hopes to make it to the podium in 2014.
It’s a double celebration tonight at Daystar Retirement Village (WSB sponsor) in Westwood – a barbecue party during which they are celebrating not only summer but also residents’ support for the Senior Center of West Seattle. Last month, Daystar’s Wanda Daudet (above, with SCWS’s Lyle Evans) explains, they sponsored the center’s annual luau, prepared by Daystar chef Kemberli Greco and served to more than 100 attendees, which brought the nonprofit center more than $600. A week later, Daystar’s second annual Senior Summer Camp raised $460 for SCWS, and that’s the check presented during tonight’s barbecue.
Thanks to Philip for pointing this out to us via Twitter – one of the newest celebrity videos in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness, just published on YouTube today, stars West Seattleite and Pearl Jam leader Eddie Vedder, with the bucket wielded by bandmate Mike McCready. Looks like it was recorded on the West Seattle shoreline, too, as Philip noted in his tweet.
*Alumni Mixer – Friday; August 15th at 7:00 pm*
Maxi’s Lounge at the DoubleTree Hotel
18740 International Blvd; Seattle
*Alumni Spouse/Partner Dinner – Saturday; August 16th at 6:00 pm*
Talarico’s Pizza – West Seattle Junction
4718 California Ave SW
*Family Picnic – Sunday; August 17th at 12:00 noon*
Lincoln Park – Picnic Area near the south parking lot
Next Sunday afternoon (August 17th) at West Seattle Golf Course, a memorial is planned for “Buck” Thompson, whose family shares this remembrance:
Clair Wallace “Buck” Thompson, 83, of Seattle, Washington, passed away on July 14, 2014.
Buck was born in Omaha, Nebraska to Clair and Ethel Thompson. He was a 1950 graduate of West Seattle High School. He went on to earn a degree at Washington State University in Business with a minor in Architectural Small Dwelling Construction graduating in 1954. In his early years, he worked in the hotel and restaurant management business, was a real estate agent selling recreational property in Eastern Washington, and later sold marine supply equipment with Obert Marine Supply. Buck belonged to the Society of Port Engineers of Puget Sound and held the position of President, Chairman of the Board, “Chicken of the Year,” and “Man of the Year”. He enjoyed travel, fishing, sports, and family.
Buck is preceded in death by his parents, Clair and Ethel, and his sister Judith Ann Campbell.
He is survived by his devoted wife Sharon Thompson; sons Paul (Kim) Thompson and Bryce (Eva) Thompson; daughter Dawn (Eric) Hodo; stepson Jamie (Beth) Trigg; stepdaughter Tracy (Mitch) Trotter; eleven grandchildren and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A memorial for Buck will be held at the West Seattle Golf Course on Sunday, August 17, at 3:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Medic One, without whose help Buck would never have been able to receive the care he did: Medic One Fire Department, 301 Second Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104.
Do you know “the gray-haired plant lady”? We don’t know her name, but she had a friend forward these photos and reader report expressing appreciation for West Seattle’s individual green spaces, so we are in turn sharing her words and pictures with you, which she sent under the heading ‘West Seattle Loves Green’:
With all the concrete and steel coming into our community, the citizens of West Seattle are creating their own green spaces. Have you noticed all the new plant containers in front of the local stores? The merchants also contributed to the beautiful hanging baskets. Even the new buildings are adding greenery in front of their buildings. In front of the stores you will find pots, boxes and even a wagon.
The old stump on the corner of California and Alaska has been replaced by a tree and a planter. A couple of days ago, I walked both sides of the street from Admiral Way to West Seattle Nursery. I found over 1,000 pots and planters and over 1,000 plantings. I didn’t count all the deck plants and patios.
I have been asked many times if I do the landscape in front of Hope Lutheran Church. A group of people help weed, mow grass and deadhead plants. The Loren Sommer family grows and plants the whole landscape. Loren, Rachel, and Bernadette spend many hours growing and planting. If you see them, say “thank you!” Omar Sommer, grandpa, helps with the watering system.
I just can’t resist adding that I was Loren’s and Rachel’s first-grade teacher.
‘The gray-haired plant lady’
‘Bring Karen Back’ campaign launched by supporters of ousted West Seattle Senior Center director Karen SissonAugust 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments
For almost four weeks, we’ve been covering the aftermath of citywide nonprofit Senior Services‘ decision to fire longtime Senior Center of West Seattle director Karen Sisson (WSB file photo at left). While the center has its own board of directors, they don’t have hiring/firing power over staff, but the board voiced their support for her leadership, days after learning of her firing.
Now community supporters are launching a campaign, telling WSB that tomorrow, a community petition drive will kick off to urge Sisson’s reinstatement. Volunteers are gathering at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market at 10:30 am Sunday to ‘share information and collect signatures and support for bringing back Karen Sisson as director of the Senior Center of West Seattle,” according to a note we received today from Cindy, who adds, “Any volunteers are welcome to join us. We are also setting up a Facebook page, ‘Bring Karen Back,’ for people to start their own petitions and upload information.” That page is here. Sisson led the Senior Center for a quarter-century, with her accomplishments and the center’s growth detailed and celebrated in the center’s newsletter earlier this year.
Meantime, the West Seattle center’s board president David Robertson told WSB this past week that they “continue to work on this issue.”
Would you know human trafficking if you saw it? West Seattle Democratic Women’s awareness campaign continuesAugust 5, 2014 at 10:22 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments
Did you see the signs? West Seattle Democratic Women‘s human-trafficking-awareness campaign is in a new phase with pop-up signage – the sign above was the fifth of six signs displayed Saturday along Harbor Avenue, and you’ll see them again this Thursday, 4-6 pm, on Fauntleroy Way just east of Morgan Junction. Elizabeth Heath, chair of the WSDW campaign, shared the photo and explained that WSDW is displaying the signs “a la the highway ‘Burma Shave’ signs of the past. One message was: Human Trafficking//Near Your Home//Don’t Delay//Pick Up The Phone//For Help, Call 888-3737-888″ – a national hotline to report human trafficking – followed by a sign for WSDW and its website. She adds, “Passersby on foot, on bikes, and in cars showed support by waving, blinking lights, or stopping by to learn more about the issue. You can expect to see these folks and their signs on various busy West Seattle streets over the next six weeks. Here’s a chance to learn more about Human Trafficking and how you can make a difference.” WSDW’s campaign has its own page on the group’s website, here. Not sure you would know human trafficking if you saw it? Some basic info is on this brochure from another local organization, Seattle Against Slavery.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Three weeks ago, we reported on the sudden ouster of the longtime director of the Senior Center of West Seattle, Karen Sisson, news that shocked and saddened many community members – one of whom even picketed.
While the center owns its own building and has its own board of directors, its staff/administration is through the citywide nonprofit Senior Services, which would not comment on the reason for Sisson’s dismissal. Less than a week after her termination, the West Seattle board declared it had voted full confidence in her leadership, and its president Dave Robertson stressed that they were pressing for answers.
We’ve been asked what’s happened since then. Here’s what Robertson told WSB today:
As board President of the West Seattle Senior Center, I would like to thank the West Seattle community for its support to the Senior Center and to Karen Sisson. The Board of Directors of West Seattle Senior Center is hopeful that it will be able to amicably resolve issues with Senior Services, and in the meantime, the Senior Center does not want to lose Karen’s talents and experience in helping seniors in West Seattle.
The Senior Center has been an integral part of the West Seattle community for 40 years, and Karen has been Center Director for more than 25 of those years. Karen’s dedication to seniors and to the Center is without question. Her work is phenomenal. As we continue to work on this issue, we thank you for your support and patience.
Since our last followup, we also made contact with Karen Sisson, who had her own words of thanks:
I have so appreciated the support from the community, it is overwhelming to me.
I am also overwhelmed with the loss of my job, working to better the world of seniors in West Seattle. I have always loved my work, the connection to the community and with the seniors individually. It is so rewarding to see what staff can do to change the course of their world.
Above all, I would ask that the community continue to support the Center and its staff during this transition period. Your support of the Center is the only reason it has been so successful. The West Seattle board is strong and has strong leadership under David Robertson, and Nancy Sorensen who actually used to be president of the SS board. They have some very hard decisions to make and i wish them well in that process.
In the meantime, I will volunteer for Aylene the Stop n’ Shop manager, and assist the board should they request.
While neither Senior Services nor Sisson elaborated on the reason given for letting her go, Robertson said in his first public statement that it had to do with an e-mail.
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